The World Series is over, so, for the Red Sox' front office, it's time to start thinking about next year. One of the first items on the list for this off-season is the free agency of Jacoby Ellsbury: if the past is any indication, according to Buster Olney, Ellsbury is going to be in line for a huge payday that the Red Sox won't be willing to pay themselves.
Olney reports that Ellsbury's agent, Scott Boras, countered Boston's roughly $100 million extension offer with a $130 million deal following his MVP-caliber 2011 season, and the Red Sox declined. Following Ellsbury's down 2012, in which he was injured and ineffective, Boston came back to the negotiating table and submitted an offer similar to what would B.J. Upton would sign with the Braves that winter, around five years and $75 million. Now he has rebounded, and while the power isn't there like it was two years ago, he's one of the game's most significant baserunning threats, is still a productive, top-of-the-order threat, and is a plus defender at an up-the-middle position: Ellsbury is going to get paid, and likely not by Boston.
The Red Sox will submit a qualifying offer to Jacoby Ellsbury before the deadline, as it's the only way to recoup some value for losing him to another team -- Olney cites the Mariners and Rangers as the favorites, and that's no surprise, as both clubs have been chasing him for well over a year now in the trade market. Devotees will remember that FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal mentioned the Mariners as a possible destination for Ellsbury, for a deal of at least $126 million, earlier this month -- this likely means the $130 million figure from 2011 remains relevant today.The good news, though, is that Ellsbury won two rings with the Red Sox, and was an integral piece of both clubs. It's hard to ask for a player drafted and developed by an organization to do more for a team than Ellsbury has, and with that draft pick incoming, assuming he does bolt, he's not done giving quite yet.
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